MUSIC PICKS: FEB 23 - MAR 1 | Music Picks | Salt Lake City Weekly


Arlie, Whitehall, The Sewing Club @ Soundwell 2/23,Early James, Sammy Brue, Hectic Hobo @ The State Room 2/24-Lee, Philip Labes, Rachael Jenkins, Olive Klug @ Kilby Court 2/25, and more.

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  • Logan Daugherty
  • Arlie

Arlie, Whitehall, The Sewing Club @ Soundwell 2/23
Starting as a bedroom project back in 2015, singer/songwriter Nathaniel Banks created what eventually became the band Arlie. By 2018, Banks recruited a full group, and they were off. Currently, they are supporting their latest release, Break the Curse, a versatile and expansive work. The album is sonically impressive, creating huge walls of sound that are punchy and in your face. Listening through is an amusing experience, and that's all been done intentionally, according to Banks. "Sometimes it is thought-out and intentional in that way, but sometimes it's just experimenting and then finding an experience that you like and then committing to it and leaning into it," he told Metro Weekly this month. Break the Curse also leans into sounds and vibes from the late '60s, a fun callback that still sounds fresh. "That's definitely the golden era for me, those late sixties years. That's like the Golden Age of music with guitars for me, for sure," Banks said. Joining Arlie are bedroom rockers The Sewing Club, who take influence from rock and grunge of the '90s, while sprinkling in punk and Nashville indie vibes. Rounding out the show are indie four-piece Whitehall. "They merge a dancey demeanor with an insatiable desire for more out of life, making for an incredibly energetic and heart opening live experience," according to their website. Catch this indie lineup on Thursday, Feb 23 at 8 p.m. Tickets for the all-ages show are $15 and can be found at (Emilee Atkinson)

  • Alysse Gafkjen
  • Early James

Early James, Sammy Brue, Hectic Hobo @ The State Room 2/24-Lee
With his recently-released second album, the tellingly-titled Strange Time To Be Alive, Early James offers insights into an unsettled state of mind. It's an album that's both ominous and unsettling, as observations about a world where distancing and disappointment seem to be the norm. An Americana auteur who freely blends elements of country, roots and blues, he lays his emotions bare by freely expressing the shared sentiments that have impacted—and impaired—so many in the wake of the divide caused by politics, polemics and the pandemic. That said, there's a certain encouragement and comfort found in James' songs, a reassurance that despite any individual isolation, somehow we're not alone, and that misery not only loves company, but it fosters community. Happily, community can be contagious. That in itself allows for a promising proposition, one that piques curiosity while allowing for some obvious intrigue. "I like to confuse myself by what I even mean," James told Rolling Stone. "It's like, what do you mean by that? I'm like, 'That's a fun turn of phrase. Does it make sense? No, not yet.' And then you just make it make sense." Fortunately, the results confirm he's succeeded. Expect him to share an evening that embodies true cool contemplation. Early James performs at the State Room with special guests Sammy Brue and Hectic Hobo at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb 24. Tickets for this 21 and older show cost $22 at (Lee Zimmerman)

Rachael Jenkins - JADE CROMAR
  • Jade Cromar
  • Rachael Jenkins

Philip Labes, Rachael Jenkins, Olive Klug @ Kilby Court 2/25
Indie/pop artist Phlip Labes stops in SLC on tour to celebrate his latest release Winter, a collection marking the last in the Four Seasons series of albums from the singer/songwriter. Labes dabbles in acting and writing, but has been putting out music since 2014 and has a dedicated fanbase. Winter features some standout tracks including "dear, god," a song that's light and airy musically, but heartbreaking lyrically. The song will have you reeling with lines like, "Dear god, I know it's gauche to ask for favors / But maybe you could save her from the cancer that she has." It's melancholy, but Labes sings in a whimsical way that is a comfort, and makes you feel like it'll be okay after all. Joining Labes is SLC singer/songwriter powerhouse Rachael Jenkins. She's also well known for her down-to-earth and wrenching lyrics, but she pairs them with powerful, well-controlled vocals. She hit the music scene with her first published song untitled in 2021, and has garnered 2.4 million streams since its release, making Jenkins a force to be reckoned with. Rounding out this talented indie show is singer/songwriter Olive Klug, a contemporary indie-folk artist who has been making waves with their self-styled sounds that take inspiration from the likes of Joni Mitchell and Brandi Carlile. Check out this well rounded show on Saturday, Feb 25 at 7 p.m. Tickets for the all-ages show are $15 and can be found at (EA)

  • Erik Fralick
  • Joe Samba

Joe Samba, Pepper @ The Complex 2/28
"No matter what walk of life you're from, I'd love for you to hear the conviction in my music," Joe Samba states on his website. "I hope you think, 'This dude meant it.' Maybe you relate to what I'm singing about or just cut loose for a little bit. I just write songs and try to connect with people." The rock/reggae artist has been making a splash since his debut album The Wrong Impression dropped in 2019, making a name for himself as a formidable performer in the genre. He plays with passion, sings with a strong and clear voice and performs as if each time is the first time; he clearly loves what he does. Samba has worked up to playing with veterans of the reggae genre Pepper, who are celebrating the 20th anniversary of their sophomore album Kona Town. The trio began their journey in Hawaii back in 1997, with the same core founding members—a feat for a band that's been together for more than two decades. Kona Town is where Pepper really began to see commercial success, and began to be a major influence in the genre, so it makes sense the band wants to celebrate this album. Catch this reggae/rock show on Tuesday, Feb 28 at 7 p.m. Tickets for the all-ages show are $35 and can be found at (EA)

  • Phil Bailey
  • J Boog

J Boog @ The Depot 3/1
Reggae has this ability to evolve into all kinds of wild directions. The manner of execution is so different that comparisons aren't easy. While Tosh and Marley could be a reference standard for the genre, J Boog rocks the kind of singing you'll hear absolutely nowhere else. Born in Long Beach, Calif. and raised in Compton, Jerry Afemata—a.k.a. J Boog—has been steadily dropping gems since his Grammy-nominated debut EP, Rose Petals, back in 2016. The tunes have phat, room-y beat textures and thick basslines, almost crossing over with a soul-type sound. It feels like he is sharing the secret for a peaceful world. "I think reggae's always got a special place in people's hearts, for music," he told LA Weekly."I know that's never changed for years. It talks about the same message—about love, about unity, about coming together." True to the authentic sound, J Boog's crafty arrangements create a party atmosphere that is guaranteed to hold the crowd in the palm of his hand. It's been a minute since Salt Lake City had the pleasure to hear "Sunshine Girl," "Lonely Days" and "Let's Do It Again" live. That last one there - you can swim in that one. Likkle Jordee will also appear on the bill. Catch J Boog Wednesday, Mar 1 at The Depot. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the music starts at 8 p.m. Tickets for the 21+ show are $28.50 and can be found at (Mark Dago)

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